Mizoram exit polls 2018: All you need to know
The exits poll on Friday evening would predict the outcome of the November 28 assembly election in Mizoram, where Congress, which is in power since 2008 in the northeastern state, faced a stiff battle from the Mizo National Front (MNF) for the 40 seats.
Around 770,000 people voted to decide the fate of 209 candidates,18 of whom were women, as the state went to polls for the eighth time since it was declared a state in 1987.
Like previous polls, there is a direct contest between the ruling Congress and MNF. But several others including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the National People’s Party (NPP) and the Zoram Peoples Movement (ZPM) could play crucial roles in the formation of the next government.
The Congress and the MNF contested from all 40 seats. The BJP, which is in power or is part of the ruling coalition in six states of the region, fielded 39 candidates this time. Despite contesting the last five elections in the state, the BJP has failed to win a single seat in the state that has 87% Christian population.
The ZPM fielded its candidates in 35 seats and NPP, which is in power in Meghalaya and is part of the ruling coalition in Nagaland and Manipur, contested nine seats.
Chief minister Lal Thanhawla, seeking a third consecutive term, contested for both the Serchhip and Champhai South seats and was among nine candidates who filed nominations from multiple seats.
In the 2013 election, the Congress had won 34 seats, while its main opposition, the MNF got five and the Mizoram People’s Conference bagged one seat.
While Congress president Rahul Gandhi drummed up support for the ruling party, the BJP’s campaign witnessed rallies by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party president Amit Shah and Union home minister Rajnath Singh. Other prominent leaders who campaigned in the state included DoNER minister Jitendra Singh, National People’s Party (NPP) leader and Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma.
The Congress banked heavily for the elections on its flagship New Land Use Policy (NLUP), which brought the party to power for two consecutive terms.
Experts say Mizoram could have its first hung assembly this time as the BJP is also seeking to make its presence felt. The BJP has made deep inroads in the northeast since the Modi government came to power at the Centre in 2014 and its performance in the Christian-majority state will be keenly watched.
The Election Commission had imposed a nearly month-long ban on holding exit or opinion poll, a survey of voters after they exit polling stations but are known to often get it wrong, beginning November 12 in the five poll-bound states. The counting of votes will take place on December 11.
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